I wanted to share with you what a good time I recently had! As you know, I had a contemporary art gallery for four years in San Francisco. My mission was to show the work of emerging artists, artists who were essentially unknown. In an ‘art sense’, they were ‘young’ artists, but in real life not all of them were. Some were very young, some were considerably older, and all had been working on their art for many, many years, with deep commitment. They did beautiful work and my years of owning the art gallery were among the happiest of my life. I was devastated when I closed it. It was one of those rare things, when I didn’t have a single bad day, loved the people I worked with and the art I showed. Everyday at the gallery was new and exciting, and the years I spent on the gallery were among the happiest in my life. We closed two years ago and I still miss it. What a joy it was—not only for me, but also for the artists, and all those who worked with us. Dealing contemporary art is a huge amount of fun!! Huge!! And our clients seemed to enjoy the work.
When I closed the gallery, it seemed reasonable to me to try and find each artist a new home. I wanted them to be well cared for, respected, properly paid, and I wanted to find them galleries that I felt would do a good job for them, and create an ever increasing awareness and interest in their work. I was a real mother hen about my artists! (Just as I am about my kids!!)
I mourned closing the gallery for a long time, and felt that I had let my artists down by closing. But reason dictated that I throw in the towel when the lease came up for renewal, so I did. And operating costs were rising. We sold very well, but sadly, not enough to justify staying open, and I had established the gallery with a high overhead. Today, it would have been worse, with people acquiring less art, and trying to spend less money. Most galleries would agree right now that ‘business is soft’ and there are fewer sales.
A year after I had closed the gallery, Andrea Schwartz contacted me, took me to lunch, and invited me to do a show for her at her gallery, with either her stable of artists, my own from my defunct gallery, or new ones. It was an offer I truly couldn’t refuse and I leapt for joy! Several months later, I put together a show in her gallery, it did very well and both Andrea and I were thrilled (at least I was!).
Now, a year later, I was given the opportunity to do a show for her again, and once again I was thrilled at the prospect of curating a show (deciding which artists will be in it, and what work to select, and eventually the day before the show, the curator decides where the work should hang in the gallery, and oversees the installation of the work). And when I finish curating I sit back with a smile on my face. This time was no different. The show was beautiful!
I began selecting artists in January, and letting them know about the show. Just as they were in my gallery, the 12 artists in the show were spread all over the US and even Europe. I signed up all the artists for the show, and a few months ago, I selected the actual work, from slides. And the artists shipped it to us, the work was scheduled to arrive several days before the show, and it all arrived in time. Andrea planned a party for the opening, with music, wine, and wares. (The taco truck was a huge hit and the food was delicious).
And then it was The Big Day. The opening went off without a hitch. The work we had gathered up (including two painting I had brought from France) was interesting, happy, exciting, well done, and the combination once we unpacked it, and put it on the walls, was everything we had hoped for and more.
Much to my delight, everyone loved the show when they came, and enjoyed it as much as I did. Judging from people’s reactions and the paintings we sold, the show was a hit. The theme of the show was ‘Word’, and people seemed to respond immediately as they came through the door. Everything in the show was a painting with words integrated into it, and was spectacular!!! I totally loved it. I love keeping my hand in the art world, and am thrilled with this opportunity to curate once a year. I wish I could do it more often, but I am touched and flattered to be allowed by Andrea to do the show, and our collaboration is wonderful. Everyone responded well to the show. We sold several painting, and everyone there had fun. And the taco truck at the end was a stroke of genius. Everybody loved it, and it added to the festive atmosphere. (And I ate way too much, but it was yummy).
The art show went beautifully, some of the work got sold. I saw lots of people I like at the opening, and met several interesting new ones. And just like in the old days of my own gallery, I had a ball!! The sculptor Louise Bourgeois said that “Art is a guarantee of sanity”. I’m not sure that’s true, but I can assure you that it is a guarantee of a ton of fun. For me, it’s work I truly enjoy, and it is a joy to do these shows, in addition to my writing!! It was a truly terrific evening!!